What It’s Really Like Living Through a Fixer-upper

Nowadays, many people decide to buy a fixer-upper home instead of an already fixed one. There are three big reasons. First, they are less expensive. Second, you’ll have less competition in buying one. And last, they provide you with the freedom to renovate that home so that it suits all your needs and preferences. But what about living through a fixer-upper?

Photo of a room that's part of a home renovation
Photo by Laurie Shaw

However, going this route also comes with some cons. Renovating a fixer-upper can be expensive, take more time than expected, and drain you emotionally. In order to overcome all of these cons, many people have come up with a unique solution—living through a fixer-upper. If this describes you, keep reading. Here is what’s really like to live in a fixer-upper home you renovate. 

It Takes Longer Than Expected 

If you are here, reading this post, you are probably not a professional contractor, no. You are just a rookie DIY-er who wants to make the most out of his/her DIY project. And, let us tell you something right from the start – what might take a professional handyman an hour to fix, it will take you at least two days. This is not because you are not good enough, it is because you do not have the proper skills and knowledge for that particular task.

So, instead of jumping right at the problem that needs to be fixed, you will first watch tons of YouTube videos looking for clues on how and where to start. And, you should do that – that is the best way to acquire home improvement tips that you need to know. But, even with all those tips, you will still make mistakes. And, those mistakes will also cost you your time.

However, when you add living in a fixer-upper home while also trying to renovate it, things will get a lot more complex and stressful (and time-consuming). It is easy to get distracted and occupied with something that will take you away from your DIY projects. And that is why living in a fixer-upper while you renovate it takes a lot more time than expected.  

It Saves Money 

In this day and age, you do not need to be professional to get something done. If you want to know how to move your home like a professional, you can learn about it on sites like Strong-Ass Movers. And, if you want to know how to renovate every part of your home, you can learn about it on sites like ours. So, with that in mind, and with the fact buying fixer-upper homes is a lot cheaper than buying ‘normal’ homes, people decide to make this step. 

It is true, renovating a fixer-upper home while also living in it can save you a lot of money. Just think about all the money you would save on not having to pay for hotels, rent, and storage units. However, you should be smart with the money that you saved! Do not continue to cut corners, especially on some big projects that you have no experience doing, projects like upgrading plumbing and electricity systems. Doing this by yourself can only cause you problems that will drain your budget later on. Thus, if you want to really save money, hire a professional for the tasks you are not familiar with. 

It is Not Safe for Children and Pets 

If you plan on moving into a fixer-upper home with your children and pets, we strongly advise you to change your mind. This is not safe! A fixer-upper home that has not been renovated completely can be hazardous for your little ones and for your furry ones. Especially if proper pest control has not been done in years.

Living here will be the same as living on a construction site. And, we already told you before that the process of renovating and upgrading this kind of home can last a lot more than you expected, so, do you really want your children and pets to live on a construction site for months, even years? Never ignore this fact when buying a fixer-upper

However, if living in a fixer-upper home while renovating it is your only option, at least make sure to have your children’s room completely finished. And, when it comes to other areas they have to use (bathrooms, kitchen, etc.), try to make them as safe as possible. This means that you shouldn’t leave any hazardous items such as working equipment, nails, paints, etc., unattended. 

Living in a Fixer-Upper is Not for Those With OCD 

It is true that many people today have OCD. Some have less and some more severe cases of it. However, they all have one thing in common – they cannot stand mess and chaos. So, if you too are someone who has been affected with OCD, or if you are just a neat freak, you might have difficulties living in an unrenovated fixer-upper home. Everything will bug you. There will not be a single place where you can go and relax. 

However, when you add the process of moving houses and packing and unpacking messes, your condition may even worsen because of all the chaos around you. Of course, in just a day or two, you will unpack and get rid of all the boxes and excess materials – a smart way to get rid of them would be to recycle or donate them, for example. But, you can never finish upgrading your home this quickly.  Thus, if you want to avoid the chaos, but you still want to buy a fixer-upper home, our advice is to hire professionals and to move in after everything has been finished. 


As you have seen, there are many pros and cons of living in a fixer-upper while also renovating it. On one side, it saves money, but on the other, it consumes time and energy. Moreover, it is not safe for children, pets, and people with OCD. So, think twice before you opt for this big DIY project. There are many things you will have to take into consideration, so take your time. Talk to people who have done this before. And, if none of the people around you did this before, turn to the Internet – it is full of people sharing their stories on why people sell houses “as is”, what living in them looks like, what needs to be renovated first, etc. 

Inform and educate yourself on this topic before you decide anything. The more you know the easier it will be to both live in and renovate the fixer-upper! It is always better to be safe than sorry! If you take a project that is more than you can handle may ruin your life. 

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